Sunday, 24 February 2013

24/2 Newsround BBC Filming and more

I have realised that I can't start each blog with an apology for being so rubbish at writing intermittently, and should accept my life is too chaotic to be regular and reliable.  Since I last wrote I turned 40.  And what a great birthday it was.  I have never been so spoilt by so many friends.  A cracking party topped it all off.  It had a black and white theme, with everyone dressing up for the occasion, looking fabulous.  Anyway, I don't feel a day older, but perhaps because I look and feel nearer fifty, forty seems a fair label :)

It has been half term, and a hectic one at that.  After my Dad's cancer diagnosis a couple of weeks ago, the family have been adjusting.  My sister was due to leave the country on work, and her five year old was to be looked after by my parents.  Last minute change meant she came to us.  Three kids and a dog for half term kept me busy but we all came through in one piece, with some great help from Alex's care assistant.  Think I will treat myself to a back massage now.

And finally the week finished off with the  BBC visiting us a couple of days ago to do a short film on Lucie.  They interviewed Thomas (having to first get over the hurdle of explaining there was no chance of interviewing Alex), then filmed me taking Alex and Lucie for a walk.  It went as well as can be expected with all the variables.  We had Michelle from Support Dogs here to assist, and also Alex's care worker, so enough hands on deck.  It should be on CBBC Newsround either end of this week or next, but will also be online, so I will include a link when I have one.  It will only be very short as these things always are, but yet again another notch in raising awareness, which is always a step in the right direction.

And so after a lovely evening with friends last night, I am feeling slower after enjoying the rare pleasure of champagne, oo, I could get a taste for champagne!  Yum. Dave has taken Tom to watch rugby and Alex and I are watching DVD's.  I really need to practice my presentation as I am speaking to a large group of Teacher Trainees tomorrow at Hope University, so could do with brushing the cobwebs off my talk.  But it will get by somehow, and I will have Lucie with me to keep me nice and calm!!  Back to my lazy Sunday, and joining Alex with the 74th viewing of Beauty and the Beast.....

Friday, 1 February 2013

1/2 Chocolate - I'll never see it in the same way

Today is a day I would rather forget.  I am now on my third glass of wine, something lovely white and fruity , but it is already setting the world to rights.  Its been a long day, and I need a wind down.

This morning, after a lovely dog walk, I could feel the stress of the week taking its toll, and decided baking would be a relaxing past time.  I embarked on making chocolate truffles, in preparation for my 40th.  After a couple of hours, Lucie fast asleep in the back room, I looked out the kitchen window to see the neighbours chicken had escaped.  Not a biggy, until I saw a local cat, known for its mean temperament, prowling towards the chicken, and managed to corner it.  Not being one to stand back and watch nature take its course, I ran out and grabbed the chicken and shooed the cat away.  I put the chicken safely in my garden till my neighbour returned home and I could give it back.  I had been out only a couple of minutes, and on walking back into the kitchen immediately noticed the 40 or so truffles were nowhere to be seen.

Lucie was back in her bed looking decidedly guilty.  I know dogs can react badly to chocolate, but this was not the first time she had snuck some, and I thought some dogs reacted more than others, thinking it was more like a reaction rather than quantity.  I googled dogs and chocolate, and also put a note on Facebook about what had happened.   Within a couple of minutes thankfully my sister and a friend quickly sent more information saying it was a big deal, and my research confirmed this was a problem. I called the vet, was told to come straight down, threw the chicken in our garage to keep cats away, phoned Dave to say I was on the way to the vet after a truffle crisis, and when he came home he would find a chicken in the garage, and please return it to the neighbour. His response was, "A live chicken?!".  Yep, a live chicken, best not to remind me.  Within twenty minutes of the chocolate munch we were in the vet.   Four members of staff later, they had given her pills to make her vomit, shaved her leg, got the drip thing set up and by now I realised the extent of the issue.  She had taken over the potential fatal dose of chocolate, and there was every chance this could be serious.  The vet was fantastic.  She was very sick on demand, and I was given four doses of charcoal to give her at home to absorb any chocolate left in her.

As we stepped out the vet we needed to cross a road by a police station.  Lucie had her leg bandaged up, and was a little slower than usual.  A 4x4 marked police car came toward us as we waited to cross the road.  He indicated to turn left, and started to turn, so we could now go.  I looked straight at him, and we started to cross.  For some reason he then carried straight on, and had to slam on his brakes to stop in front of us.  I looked at the policeman, and pointed to his indicator, to say, I could see him turning.  The poor guy had a shock, and apologised repeatedly.  He must have changed his mind and headed back toward us, not looking.  Just hearing his brakes startled me.  I waved to say it was fine, but with all the stress of the events, I got to the car and just burst into tears. The events of the last hour caught up with me. We have only had Lucie 8 months, and had 3 emergency vet visits.  I could not feel more like a failed dog owner right now if I tried.  I played the event over and over in my head to see how I could mess up so badly.

I took her home and watched her like a hawk.  We had an appointment to return later in the evening to check her heart rate had not started to speed up.  She was calm, and pretty much her normal self, though I think she knew she had done something wrong judging by the big labrador eyes.  So we returned for a check up, and I physically felt relief when he confirmed she was doing great, and no signs of any trauma.  She has eaten the charcoal no problem, mixed with a little peanut butter, and now we are keeping each other company while Dave has gone out.

Next time I try and chill out, I will not bake, I will have a long hot bath and listen to some nostalgic music, and drink tea in the bath up to my ears in bubbles.

31/1 Sad news and life goes on

A tough couple of weeks.  I write about life with an assistance dog and boys with autism, but this week is also a reminder that we deal with all that life throws as with any other family.  My Dad was diagnosed with cancer yesterday which has come as a shock.  It has made me very reflective and aware of the fine balance we are continually treading on this path of life.  It is easy to focus on our day to day issues, then something comes along that stops us in our tracks and gives us the chance to remind us what is important.  So this week I have been thinking of those significant people in my life.

My Dad takes care of my Mum who has mobility issues, and the impact of him needing treatment has far reaching implications, emotionally, physically and practically.  I have started to feel torn, desperate to want to support them in any way needed, but not sure how, with the journey a two hour round trip, and dealing with the challenges at home.  At the same time I watch Dave carefully who is struggling to control high blood pressure despite his doctor being on Plan W.  So how to keep all my family functioning, and be there for everyone has been the challenge of the month, and the solution will become apparent in time.

But what I really have thought a lot about as we deal with this news is what an amazingly strong circle of friends and family we have around us.   One of the hardest things to do is ask for help, and allow people into your crazy world, but pride and lifes challenges don't marry well, so I have ditched the pride and learned to say 'help!'. And this week, the lovely support that we all feel around shows that we are not supposed to go on this journey alone.

There is no moral to this. No message, just reflection.  Some days it feels like the hits keep on coming, but its easy to bounce back when you have great people around.   In one week I will be turning 40.  My Mum was worried the news this week would dampen the occasion.  Hell no.  If ever there is a reason to enjoy each day and celebrate then this reinforces my feeling to live it up and enjoy what we have.  So I am going to party and spend time with that great group of people I am proud to know.  I hope they can handle their cocktails, because I am not known to do things in halves.  We get one chance at life, lets make it a good one!